Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Book Review: Life of Dr. Jacob Bolotin

Something new and different for BlogaBarbara! -- a book review by SB Wineguy. Thanks for passing it on!

=============Book Review=============

This is a locally-published book which is highly inspirational:

Life of Dr. Jacob Bolotin

Jacob Bolotin was a highly respected physician, a teacher at medical school, and a head of department at several Chicago hospitals. He was also a Scoutmaster and a leader in Kiwanis, becoming a trustee of the club and rising to Lieutenant Governor Junior of the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District.

When Jacob was a young boy he determined to pursue a medical career. Born to poor immigrant parents, his road to this goal was hard. He spent four years traveling alone throughout the midwest selling typewriters to accumulate the funds for tuition. Once admitted to medical school his marks were consistently the highest, as were his scores on the State Board examination.

As a physician Dr. Bolotin was known as a consummate diagnostician. He was beloved by patients and respected by his fellow doctors. His achievements were many, and his life was worthy of praise. But there was one more thing about Jacob Bolotin that makes his story extraordinary: he was blind from birth.

Just think how hard it was to accomplish all these things without sight. In those days there were no braille textbooks or audiobooks to study. For the most part, blind people were left to fend for themselves. Dr. Bolotin did a lot to change our attitudes toward the handicapped.

Bolotin had no children, but his young nephew Al Perlman lived with him for a number of years. I was acquainted with Perlman and his lovely wife Rosalind near the end of their lives, and I was aware that they had a manuscript of a biography of this fascinating character. Rosalind asked me to help with some internet research; she was especially interested in locating a copy of a speech he often gave entitled "Over the Top in Darkness."

After Al and Rosalind had both passed away I assumed the Bolotin story was lost forever. Then I came upon this book in the Library: The Blind Doctor: The Jacob Bolotin Story, a Biography by Rosalind Perlman. Rosalind had left a bequest in her will to the Santa Barbara Foundation directing them to prepare the manuscript and have it published!

Dr. Bolotin's story is truly heroic and an inspiration to anyone who reads it. Please take the time to find this book and read will not be sorry.



Anonymous PRN said...

Dr Bolotin probably became a doctor who listened to and non-verbally sensed his patients rather than talking to them. That is what made him a good doctor.

3/23/2008 8:34 PM  
Anonymous xyz said...

Good idea to have occasional reviews of Santa Barbara directly-related books.

3/24/2008 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Cathy Feldman said...

As the publisher of The Blind Doctor: The Jacob Bolotin Story, I'm pleased to see a local review of it. It is an amazing story of a very remarkable man. If anyone wants to learn more about him, we are having an event at Braille Institute Santa Barbara on Wednesday, April 16 from noon to 1:30 pm to introduce the audio book and Braille editions of the book. The event is free, refreshments will be served, the program short, and the books will be available in all editions (trade paperback, large type, audio book & Braille). The event is being sponsored by Braille Institute, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, National Federation of the Blind and the Santa Barbara Foundation. The books are also available at Chaucer's and on our website at

BTW, the proceeds from the sales of The Blind Doctor are going to support an annual award, the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award, being given out for the first time in July by the National Federation of the Blind to the individuals and organizations who have made the greatest contribution to the blind community in 2007.

4/14/2008 7:09 PM  

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